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Introduction by Fiona Wright
‘I hate and despise business and anything to do with making money.’
‘Do you think it’s wrong?’
‘It is the enemy of art.’
Eighteen-year-old Honor Lawrence is out of place at the bank where she works. When she refuses to accept a promotion, despite her obvious poverty, her mentor, Augustus Debrett, doesn’t quite know what to make of it, or of her. Honor is an enigma—and she leaves confusion and uneasiness in her wake.
In The Puzzleheaded Girl, made up of four thematically linked novellas, Stead’s unsurpassable skills of observation and social critique are on full display.
Read Fiona Wright’s introduction published at the Lifted Brow.
‘Christina Stead’s talent is vital and powerful; her work has that original streak of genius so evident in the best Australian writing.’
‘I cannot see how anyone can deny Miss Stead’s position as the most extraordinary woman novelist produced by the English-speaking race since Virginia Woolf.’
‘Stead is of that category of fiction writer who restores to us the entire world, in its infinite complexity and inexorable bitterness, and never asks if the reader wishes to be so furiously enlightened and instructed, but takes it for granted that this is the function of fiction.’
‘Stead effortlessly captures the feel of the era she is describing, with spare and beautiful prose.’
‘I loved the Text Classic reissue of Christina Stead’s The Puzzleheaded Girl, a kind of female version of Bartleby the Scrivener. Stead’s gifts are so ample, her grasp of obsession extraordinary.’
‘These are perfectly pitched stories of flight.’
‘At shorter length, Stead reveals more clearly her gifts in tone and voice and building a scene, while her theme here puts these fictions among the Ur-texts of feminism.’